Flashback Fridays: December 1981

Muhammad Ali’s last fight was the “Drama in the Bahamas.” His opponent was Trever Berbick and despite pleas from fans and doctors to retire Ali decided to go on with it anyways. After losing ten rounds he had finally retired after absorbing 20,000 blows. People still today believe that this fight and the one prior with Ken Norton should not have taken place because these fights caused permanent damage, and although he didn’t end on a high note he’ll always be remembered as a legend. 

We entered a new era when STS-1 shot into orbit from NASA’a Kennedy Space Center in Florida. John Young, a vetran to four previous space flights was the leader of this mission. This shuttle was the first of its kind, a reusable space shuttle. The two rockets used to launch the ship were also able to be reused, after being recovered from the ocean. Only the massive fuel tank would be discarded after burning up and falling back to earth. 

The El Mozote Massacre occurered in the village of el Mozote in El Salvador. The massacre was a result of the ongoing Salvadorean civil war. The tragedy cost an estimated 800-1,200 lives. Men, women and children of the village were abused, robbed, and murdered. Reports of the massacre weren’t made public until weeks later, when Raymond Bonner of the New York Times wrote “the charred skulls and bones of dozens of bodies buried under burned-out roofs, beams, and shattered tiles.” The Salvadoran government and military denied the reports; officials of the Reagan administration denounced tham as “gross exaggerations.” Multiple investigations have been attempted to uncover the murderers of the case; however, an amnesty law was passed in 1993, exonerating the army from potential prosecution. Fortunately, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the country to investigate the massacre, in 2012, explaining that the amnesty law did not cover the killings.

The biggest song hitting airwaves at the time was Physical, the lead single from Olivia Newton-John’s twelfth studio album of the same name. The track became an instant smash hit, spending ten weeks at number one. Interestingly, the song was turned down by multiple artists before Newton-John landed the gig. The song was elevated by its iconic music video, which would become one of the most iconic music videos of the early MTV era.

Rollover, an American political thriller film turns thirty-nine today. Despite being the number-one movie in the box office that weekend, Rollover would be nominated for a Razzie Award. Leader actor, Kris Kristofferson was nominated for “Worst Actor” in the second annual golden raspberry awards; but he would lose to Klinton Spilsbury, for his performance as the Lone Ranger in the 1981 “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” film.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock

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